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Writing & Composition

This Guide will show you where to look for useful writing, researching & composition information.

Think First

Many students have trouble picking a research paper topic. Get some help here!

  • OWL: Prewriting (Invention) General Questions 
    Ask yourself some general questions before starting to write, including "Who is your reader?" and "What is your purpose?" (from the website).
  • OWL: More Prewriting (Invention) Questions 
    20 "thought starter" questions to focus a topic, such as "What does X mean? (Definition)," "What are the facts about X? (Reportage)," and "What is the significance of X? (Interpretation)." (from the website)

OR...

 Scan current news stories on a free site...

Focus a Broad Topic

Many people change their topics as they do research.

Once you have a general topic, look for background information, and write down important words, concepts, and names.

Did you find too much information on your topic? Add one or more of these limiters and search again:

  • Timeframe (e.g., 1995-2005)
  • Geographic Region (e.g., California)
  • Person or Group (e.g., Hispanic women)
  • Event or Aspect (e.g., higher education degrees and state politics)

TIP! Just be sure to stick to the deadline to submit your final research paper topic.

Broaden a Narrow Topic

Can't find enough information on your topic? Try related or broader search words.

Examples:

  • Hispanic => Latino, Latina
  • Los Angeles => California
  • mothers => parents
  • cellphones => mobile devices
  • community colleges => higher education

Many people change their topics as they do research.

TIP! Just be sure to stick to the deadline to submit a final research paper topic.